When I came up with the idea to try to create a personal logo, I thought it would be relatively easy. We see so many logos on a daily basis, so in my mind, if so many others could do it, I could, too. I started brainstorming ideas that I wanted to convey in a logo, but was initially very indecisive. I came up with a list that mostly included things like running, forests, mountains, my initials, etc. I took those ideas to a few graphic designer friends of mine, who each came up with cool options for me, but nothing was really standing out as being quite what I was looking for. Part of the problem was that I didn’t really know what I wanted.
After going through this process for a few months, I honed my criteria a bit and decided it would be cool to align myself with a kind of spirit animal like my teammate Scott Fauble has with the wolf. The first thing that popped into my mind was an elk, initially because we have a lot of them in Flagstaff, if I’m being honest. I didn’t have a much deeper connection than that, but the more research I did, the more convinced I was that it made sense.
From a quick Google search, I came across a website called Universe of Symbolism, and put elk into the search field. Right off the bat, it returned results of stamina, dignity, integrity, wisdom, pride, vision of fulfillment, a trek to embark upon a deeper sense of self, etc, all of which describe me pretty well, in my humble opinion, and more importantly, describe the person I strive to be. “The quest of the elk is to be the greatest version of itself…bringing ideas through trials and tribulations into the culmination of existence.” This is precisely what I’ve been chasing for the past 15 years of my running career – to be the best version of myself, no matter the obstacles, and to do it with integrity and pride.
The page finished with this paragraph:
When Elk symbolism makes itself known to you, a new time is dawning, one that will bring transformative breakthroughs. This initiation will require fortitude and stamina to the distance. Like the Elk, you will have to learn to outrun the predators of doubt and disbelief. With each step you will grow stronger, and you will begin to access wisdom of the ancestors and powers within you will awaken that you once believed were merely myth. This is the gift of the Elk.
It’s uncanny how accurately this describes the past 18 months for me. My running career is on an upward trajectory, requiring more of myself than I thought possible before – breaking through mental and physical barriers. I’ve had a string of surgeries over the past year that have tested the limits of my mind and body, and through each of them I’ve come out stronger on the other side. I’ve called upon friends, family, and even my competitors for advice and for their wisdom on dealing with setbacks and disappointments. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my desire to succeed, even getting back to the very basics like why I love to run.
My mind was made up: my spirit animal is the elk. Fortunately for me, a good friend of mine and former Hoka One One NAZ Elite teammate, Lauren Kleppin, is a phenomenal artist and excitedly agreed to help me create the logo. I gave her a few images to work with and asked her to include an abstract heart beat rhythm to convey overwhelming importance running has in my heart – it gives me purpose, it gives me satisfaction, it gives me heartache and I couldn’t live without it. About a week later, I had my new logo! From there, Jen Rosario did her graphic designer voodoo magic to make it workable computer file and helped me finalize my new website design along with the new tees I have for sale. Huge thanks to Lauren and Jen for all of their help!